Families and friends of Zion’s Hill Preschool turned out on Wednesday, Aug. 27 for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of their new upper playground. Parent board members, Tara Kovach and Jennifer Longmire, began research this past winter to find a company to help the school replace their existing 25-year old playground with a new one that would truly match how kids play. After reviewing a few proposals, Fred Martin’s Environment Design won the bid.

“He was able to incorporate all of the aspects we wanted and needed, and used his expertise to guide us in designing a playground that stimulates play and creativity,” explained Longmire.

Visitors to the playgrounds at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center or The Earth Place Nature Center in Westport may have been introduced to Fred Martin’s work. His designs at those locations are great examples of using the environment to promote imagination and activity.

Of his approach to creating a concept for Zion’s Hill, Martin explains, “People are just beginning to understand how kids really play. I created a playground using the school’s natural surroundings but added large pieces of wood, balance apparatuses, music and plantings to enhance it. I also know even small children live busy lives, so providing structures with levels and challenges helps them get the practice they need to become well rounded adults.”

“The end product is more than we could have imagined,” Kovach says.

The project was the focus of the school’s annual spring fundraiser. “Our families have always been generous, but we could really feel the excitement about this project and the support was obvious,” said school director Monica Sommer, adding, “The children at Zion’s Hill will have many wonderful years of fun on this playground.”

Zion’s Hill will kick off the school’s fall open houses on Friday, Sept. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 15 from 9:30-10:30 a.m.. All families are welcome and can contact the office at 203.762.9620 to RSVP. For more information visit the school’s website.

Zion’s Hill Preschool is an independent, nondenominational school. The school community has no religious affiliation, and welcomes all faiths and cultures.